Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prompt: Lost in the infinite ocean and sky

She floated in the turtle shell, alone on the water for as far as she could see. No memory of how she got there, who she was, where she came from. She began to believe she had always been there.

Naked under the sky, she burned beneath the sun, her black hair wrapped a thick veil around her body, cloaking her from the fierce light. She felt no hunger, no thirst, only the sun’s harsh glare. Each night the moon’s gentle beams cooled her skin and soothed her pain until she was whole again.

The water terrified her. Every time she peered out, hoping to find something different on the horizon, she shrank away from the deep blue, the delicate white caps, the playful spray. Somehow the shell floated perfectly above the waves, never tipping, never dropping down to soak or sink her.

She frowned, trying to remember. Anything. A name. Her name. A place. Her place. Home? Yes, that was a place. Her mind, her memory felt as open and empty as the blue skies. If she could reach up and touch a cloud it might have more substance than a memory that faded like a ghost when she approached it too closely.

At night, the twinkling stars filled the sky, and even with her eyes closed, she could see their bright points of light. Patterns. Shapes. She rocked in the boat with her eyes half-closed, hoping to sneak up on something she could hold on to. Something she recognized.

A shooting star fell across the sky. As she watched it arc down through the sea of stars, towards the dark night ocean, she saw the light trail behind it, a line, a pattern she could trace. And as the star disappeared into the ocean, she saw them all.

She looked down at her body, gleaming under the moon and stars. Her legs twitched, and she stood in the shell, barely rocking as she stretched her arms high overhead. With a wild, piercing cry, she dove into the water, down, down, down. She pushed the air out her lungs, releasing the balloon that kept her from going deeper than the moon’s beams could follow.

Her insides burned like her skin had during the long, empty days. When she could go no farther, bear it no longer, she tilted upright in the water, floating, her hair cascading around her body. She looked up through the water to the wavery moon and stars. The fire burned in her body, empty of air, oxygen.

She opened her mouth and drew a deep breath, the cold ocean water rushing into her mouth and filling her lungs. The distant moonlight seemed to gather around her, as she drank the water into every pore of her body. The fire swept down through her legs, and she felt them lock together, thigh to toe. Her skin fused together in a wave, revealing glistening blue and gold-tipped scales. Her toes disappeared into a delicate sweep of fin. With a powerful thrust of her tail, she rocketed to the surface and leaped out of the water, stretching her arms again in a graceful dive. No struggle to breathe now. Air and water were the same to her. She dove down and rose up in a joyful dance with the moon’s light.

Finally, she rested, floating on the surface. Lifting her head, she saw the turtle shell that had protected her so well. Swimming to its side, she saw the carvings etched all over the outer shell. She recognized every one. Spells of protection, warnings to the ocean’s denizens, all keeping her safe. And she remembered everything.

With a light hand, she tipped the shell and let it fill with water, until it sank beneath the waves and dropped out of sight. She looked up at the moon and stars one last time. “Thank you, sisters,” she sang.

She dove, following the deep path of the shell. Her survival would come as a great surprise. Welcome to some. She smiled a fierce grin, baring her sharp teeth. Let the others wonder how much they should fear her now. She would show them, soon enough.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
~45 minutes

August word count:

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